Campaigners launch fresh demands for action on 'eyesore' Pickwick Arms pub in South Shields - FOUR YEARS after demolition plans approved
Campaigners have called for action over the future use of a long-vacant “eyesore” pub site in South Shields.
But four years later, the derelict drinking den is still standing and remains a target for graffiti and reports of vandalism and trespassing.
And campaigners now are once again demanding time should be called on the building - although they have different ideas on the best way forward.
Moynul Hussain, who will be standing for the Labour Party at the local elections next year in the borough’s Biddick and All Saints ward, has called for the council to set a firm timeline for the site to be demolished.
He said: “This really is not acceptable that residents in this area have had to live with this eyesore for so long.
“I believe the council must now press the owner to demolish the site and advise what they intend to do with it, or the council must enter negotiations to purchase the site, clear it and build appropriate housing for rent – if necessary by means of a compulsory purchase.
“One thing is clear, it is time for action – this site must be levelled.”
He added: “Either the owner sorts this out in an acceptable timescale or the council must use its powers to take over the site and redevelop it following consultation with local residents.
“One thing is clear – residents want time called on the Pickwick Arms”.
Rachael Milne, set to be the Green Party’s rival candidate to Mr Hussain, has been campaigning for a different future for the Pickwick Arms and instead wants to see it repurposed for community use.
She said: “Demolishing the building would have a negative impact on our environment and I fully support residents in their calls for the building to be renovated and repurposed, if it is a viable option.
“As vital youth and community services are under threat on the current Chuter Ede site in the ward, it would make sense to use the former Pickwick Arms as a provision to benefit the whole community.
“Also, a place where individuals and families could potentially access training and support day to day.”
The Green Party campaigner added whatever happens to the site, residents want the area of green space alongside the pub to be protected and made a “focal point for the neighbourhood”.
Mr Singh submitted a demolition application through his agent, ABP Property Consultants, with ‘prior approval’ granted by council planning officials in July, 2018.
At the time, the agent said negotiations over the land’s future had been made complicated by the involvement of three parties – the council, Mr Singh and the Church Commissioners.
ABP Property Consultants has since confirmed the firm is no longer involved with the Pickwick Arms application.
Mr Singh could not be contacted for comment.
A South Tyneside Council spokesperson added: “The council does not own the pub.
"The pub is held privately on a long lease.
"An application for demolition granted in 2018 remains valid until August 2023.”